Basketball Recruiting - Ayton back in charge
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Ayton back in charge

THE RIVALS150: 2016 | 2017
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The rebirth of DeAndre Ayton continued at the Hoophall West on Saturday. For the second time in just a few days, the seven-footer played like a guy driven to prove that he is the top player in the class of 2017.
I was impressed by ...
For the first time since I became the national analyst for Rivals.com in 2012, I'm thinking about doing a mid-winter tweak to the national rankings. The play of 2017 seven-footer DeAndre Ayton has a lot to do with it because his play and game have made a major turn after he lost his No. 1 ranking and fell to No. 4 due to a subpar summer.
Frankly, Ayton was bad in July. It wasn't that he didn't play great. He was uninspired and not in the best of shape while working his way back from injury. He looked like a guy who felt he had already made it and his play suffered severely because of it. After watching him play again in Las Vegas and at the Hoop Hall on Saturday, it is hard to believe I'm watching the same kid.
Ayton doesn't just have a little extra bounce in his step, he looks like he's had a rebirth as a player. That he's seven-feet tall with hands, touch and athleticism hasn't changed, but he's now enthusiastic, playing hard and is a guy who is showing that he wants to win and get better. All of that adds up to a guy who has positioned himself for a move back to the top spot in the 2017 class.
Current No. 1 Wendell Carter certainly deserves more consideration to remain at the top spot. The 6-foot-10 big man from Atlanta is as steady as he is talented. Current No. 5 Mohamed Bamba has also made a strong case for No. 1 with his elastic man arms and shot blocking.
But, if I had to do it all again today, Ayton has re-established himself as the top guy in the class. During Saturday's win over Dallas (Texas) API, he swished three-pointers in transition, protected the rim, dunked in traffic and did a little bit of everything as he led Phoenix (Ariz.) Hillcrest to a 69-66 win by scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Ayton is far from a finished product. He still settles too easily for jumpers and he still has room to add strength and get more consistent. However, it's hard not to see him as anything other than the top prospect in his class at this point.
I was surprised by
For much of Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach's blowout win over Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's, I was wondering if I might have been a little early in making 2018 shooting guard Kevin Porter a four-star prospect. Then, the 6-foot-4 scorer turned on the juice and went from seemingly uninterested to leading his team with 18 points. The lefty is much better going to the rim and in transition at this point than he is as a jump shooter, but he oozes potential and looks like one of the West's top two guard prospects for 2018. Washington and Montana are his first offers.
Porter plays on a team with a pair of seniors headed to the Pac-12. Four-star shooting guard Sam Cunliffe cooled off from the field after a hot start, but the Arizona State-bound wing added nine rebounds, four assists, and four blocks to go with his 10 points. Headed to Oregon, Keith Smith is a 6-foot-6 wing with good size and good athleticism. He was particularly impressive on the glass playing as Rainier Beach's big man and grabbing 15 boards to go along with four steals, five blocks and 12 points. He looks like a guy that the Ducks will be able to move around and he's similar to current Washington freshman Matisse Thybulle.
Seattle (Wash.) Garfield is as fun to watch as they are talented. Led by Montana signee -- and a steal for them at that -- Alphonso AndersonClick Bob Hurley's national powerhouse Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony was missing some power with several regulars out due to illness Saturday. But, they still had senior leader Jagan MoselyClick Will 2018 forward K.J. HymesClick Other thoughts ...Here to view this Link. be able to retain his No. 23 national ranking? Only time will tell. But, regardless of where he ends up in the next rankings update for his class, he remains a legitimate high-major prospect. The key word with Hymes is prospect, though. In a blowout loss to Rainier Beach he led St. Mary's with 20 points and nine rebounds. Likely much closer to 6-foot-8 than his listed 6-foot-10, Hymes is a rail thin but mobile and skilled faceup four man. His jumper looks good, he's pretty fluid handling the ball and the will to do things is there. His lack of strength hurts him some as a rebounder and low post scorer, but overall he made a pretty positive impression and it's difficult not to like his upside.Here to view this Link. and that was more than enough. Ticketed for GeorgetownClick Will 2018 forward K.J. HymesClick Other thoughts ...Here to view this Link. be able to retain his No. 23 national ranking? Only time will tell. But, regardless of where he ends up in the next rankings update for his class, he remains a legitimate high-major prospect. The key word with Hymes is prospect, though. In a blowout loss to Rainier Beach he led St. Mary's with 20 points and nine rebounds. Likely much closer to 6-foot-8 than his listed 6-foot-10, Hymes is a rail thin but mobile and skilled faceup four man. His jumper looks good, he's pretty fluid handling the ball and the will to do things is there. His lack of strength hurts him some as a rebounder and low post scorer, but overall he made a pretty positive impression and it's difficult not to like his upside.Here to view this Link. and ranked No. 121 in the Rivals150, the 6-foot-2 shooting guard played like a boss. Normally known more for his driving and tough defense, he did that but it was his deep jump shooting that really impressed. Mosely made five of his 10 three-point attempts while scoring 29 points and carrying the offensive load in a 60-48 win over Phoenix (Ariz.) Shadow Mountain. Here to view this Link.'s double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, the Bulldogs ran Phoeni- area power Corona Del Sol off the floor 76-66. A 6-foot-6 power forward, Anderson is a tough-minded and skilled kid who has a body built for contact and he benefits from being surrounded by talent that can help lighten his load.
Corona Del Sol took the loss, but 2017 Rivals150 guard Saben LeeClick Four-star junior shooting guard Jaylen Nowell also added 17 points. He's a driving off guard with mid-range game and loads of toughness. Nowell listed UCLA, Washington, Oregon and California as the programs that continue to stand out. Offensively, four-star junior guard Daejon Davis, a Washington commit, didn't have a great game, but he was off the charts defensively before fouling out. Sophomore power forward J'Raan Brooks finished with eight points and seven rebounds and is an early four-star with an offer from Washington and interest from Arizona, Kansas and Notre Dame plus other Pac-12 schools. Finally, in explosive shooting guard P.J. Fuller, Garfield has one of the top freshman on the West Coast.Here to view this Link. impressed with 26 points, six rebounds and a pair of assists. A long-armed and quick-off-the-dribble attacker, Lee is very slick on drives and he's a quick defender. He needs strength and is more two guard than point at around 6-foot-2, but it was evident why he has early offers from NebraskaClick Four-star junior shooting guard Jaylen Nowell also added 17 points. He's a driving off guard with mid-range game and loads of toughness. Nowell listed UCLA, Washington, Oregon and California as the programs that continue to stand out. Offensively, four-star junior guard Daejon Davis, a Washington commit, didn't have a great game, but he was off the charts defensively before fouling out. Sophomore power forward J'Raan Brooks finished with eight points and seven rebounds and is an early four-star with an offer from Washington and interest from Arizona, Kansas and Notre Dame plus other Pac-12 schools. Finally, in explosive shooting guard P.J. Fuller, Garfield has one of the top freshman on the West Coast.Here to view this Link., Nevada, San Francisco, San Diego, New Mexico, UC Irvine, Idaho State, Weber State, Portland State and more to go along with interest from Arizona StateClick Four-star junior shooting guard Jaylen Nowell also added 17 points. He's a driving off guard with mid-range game and loads of toughness. Nowell listed UCLA, Washington, Oregon and California as the programs that continue to stand out. Offensively, four-star junior guard Daejon Davis, a Washington commit, didn't have a great game, but he was off the charts defensively before fouling out. Sophomore power forward J'Raan Brooks finished with eight points and seven rebounds and is an early four-star with an offer from Washington and interest from Arizona, Kansas and Notre Dame plus other Pac-12 schools. Finally, in explosive shooting guard P.J. Fuller, Garfield has one of the top freshman on the West Coast.Here to view this Link., Arizona, USCClick Four-star junior shooting guard Jaylen Nowell also added 17 points. He's a driving off guard with mid-range game and loads of toughness. Nowell listed UCLA, Washington, Oregon and California as the programs that continue to stand out. Offensively, four-star junior guard Daejon Davis, a Washington commit, didn't have a great game, but he was off the charts defensively before fouling out. Sophomore power forward J'Raan Brooks finished with eight points and seven rebounds and is an early four-star with an offer from Washington and interest from Arizona, Kansas and Notre Dame plus other Pac-12 schools. Finally, in explosive shooting guard P.J. Fuller, Garfield has one of the top freshman on the West Coast.Here to view this Link. and VanderbiltClick Four-star junior shooting guard Jaylen Nowell also added 17 points. He's a driving off guard with mid-range game and loads of toughness. Nowell listed UCLA, Washington, Oregon and California as the programs that continue to stand out. Offensively, four-star junior guard Daejon Davis, a Washington commit, didn't have a great game, but he was off the charts defensively before fouling out. Sophomore power forward J'Raan Brooks finished with eight points and seven rebounds and is an early four-star with an offer from Washington and interest from Arizona, Kansas and Notre Dame plus other Pac-12 schools. Finally, in explosive shooting guard P.J. Fuller, Garfield has one of the top freshman on the West Coast.Here to view this Link..
Actually ranked a bit higher in the class of 2017 as a four-star, Lee's teammate Alex Barcello had an off day. A shooter with some passing ability, Barcello finished with 15 points and four assists while shooting 5-for-15 from the field. We have listed Barcello as a point guard, but feel that he may be better off as a two guard who can be a good secondary ball-handler and passer.